Top 5 Easiest Ways to Learn French For English Speakers – Rype
Who says learning French needs to be complicated?
What most English speakers miss when they first start to learn French is the right techniques. For someone holding a hammer, everything around them looks like a nail.
All that means is, most of us are trained to learn a second language the way we think we learned our first. The reality is, most of us don’t remember how we learned English. Unfortunately, the way most people learn French or any second language is using traditional classroom methods that aren’t very effective.
Learning vs. Acquisition
In an article titled, Input Hypothesis, a well-respected linguist by the name of Stephen Krashen came up with a rather profound thesis. Krashen makes the distinction between learning and acquisition, stating that these two are quite different, especially when it comes to learning a new language.
Learning is a rather conscious and structured process that usually happens in the traditional classrom. Whereas acquisition is more subconscious and immersive, which is how we learned our first language. The biggest mistake Krashen says, is trying to teach a foreign language using the learning method instead of the acquisition method. While learning works well for topics like mathematics, science, and history, we should learn our second language like the way we learned our first.
How children learn languages differently
Keep in mind that children do have an advantage over adults when it comes to learning a language. Krashen states that it’s mainly because of two reasons: children are exposed to a ton of new information at the right level, and they face no pressure to speak until they’re ready to do so. Since they have lower expectations on the outcome they need to achieve, they tend to acquire and retain more information faster.
The key difference is that for a child, they acquire a language as a by-product to another activity they achieve, like making friends in the playground. Compare this to adults, who are ‘force-fed’ grammar and vocabulary, with pressure to reach a certain level of proficiency by a specific time.
The Learning Pyramid
Krashen wasn’t the only one who claimed the importance of immersion. In Israel, the National Training Laboratories (NTL) performed a series of studies on how the human brain best retains information. After gathering enough data, they popularized what’s now known as the Learning Pyramid.
As shown above, the pyramid is broken down from top to bottom. The top being the least effective method for retaining information to the bottom being the most effective method. The NTL found that passive learning, such as lectures and reading textbooks, was not how humans learn best. Instead, active learning such as practicing and teaching others are the best ways to retain more information.
With that said, we’re going to reveal the top 5 easiest ways to learn French for English speakers.
Top 5 Easiest Ways to Learn French
As you may have guessed, the top ways to learn French below should have one of the following factors:
We’ve ranked the easiest methods starting from the most effective.
1. Take live 1-on-1 French lessons online
Time required: Low
Overall: Very easy
With the advent of new communication tools and technology, we can now connect with anyone from around the world using our smartphones. The way to maximize this to effectively speak French is taking live 1-on-1 French lessons online. You get to take advantage of live immersive learning, while being able to learn on-the-go and from anywhere.
Referring back to the Learning Pyramid, live lessons would fall into ‘Simulations (learn by doing)’ and ‘Teach Others’. This makes it the most effective ways for humans to learn and retain information. On Rype, we’ve made this as simple and seamless as possible by handpicking the top professional French tutors for you to choose from.
2. Listen to French podcasts
Time required: Low
Love listening to podcasts? It’s time to find some French shows. That’s right, we don’t mean finding podcasts that are focused on teaching you French, but shows dedicated to French speakers. This will allow you to mimic and familiarize yourself with how a native French speaker talks. It may feel intimidating at first, but over time, you will subconsciously become more familiar with the speech patterns, accents, and feel confident when you speak with a French person.
Combine this with the efficiency of podcasts. You can listen in your car, at the office, or while you’re exercising, without disturbing your regular schedule. The magic of podcasts, like audiobooks, is the ability to do something else as you listen. For the busy person, it’s a goldmine to leverage for learning how to speak French.
3. Find a conversation partner
Time required: Medium
Overall: Moderately easy
Next we have conversation exchanges. The great part about finding a partner who you can practice French with is that it costs virtually nothing. You can structure your conversation sessions to be done online by using Skype or in-person at your local cafe.
The only downside to learning with conversation partners is the time required. A private 1-on-1 lesson is fully dedicated to helping you improve your French skills. But working with a French conversation partner will require you to spend 50% of your time helping your partner learn your native language. There is a mutually beneficial relationship, which could be right for some people. If you have a busy lifestyle with not a lot of spare time, it may not be for you.
4. Attend local language exchanges
Time required: Medium
Another way to get immersive practice while having fun is attending local language meetups. It may not be the most effective way to learn a new language when you compare it apples to apples. However, similar to how we improved our first language as a by-product of making friends in the playground, attending local meetups is the adult version.
When you go to these meetups, learning to speak French won’t be your main goal. It’ll be building relationships, making conversations, and getting to know the person you’re speaking with. That means you’ll be acquiring French subconsciously as a by-product to being social with fellow language speakers.
5. Sing along to your favorite French songs
Time required: Medium
A fun, easy, and engaging way to learn basic French is through songs. I’m sure you’ve had a catchy song that was stuck in your head, and you’d be singing it at every opportunity you had. What if you could be learning French at the same time? You’d be surprised by how much you can remember when you find the right song. Even if you memorize the chorus, learning French will quickly become a by-product to your enjoyment of singing your favorite song.
Not sure where to start? Check out our top French songs we recommend for beginners.
Start by learning what you care about
One final tip we can share on the easiest way to learn French: Focus on learning what you actually care about.
With so much to tackle when you learn French, you should ask yourself how you want to use French. Do you plan to travel to a French speaking country after? Are you trying to improve your social life amongst your French friends? Or perhaps you want to find a job at a French company.
Placing your full focus in one direction will take you far further than spreading it in many. In short, reverse engineer why you’re learning French, and place all of your attention into that direction.
Best of luck!
This content was originally published here.